Gary Neville: More tech will come into football

Sky pundit on the future of refereeing

Technology enhances the beautiful game and needs to be accepted, ex-Manchester United defender and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville told T3 in a special interview.

The new Premiership season kicks off tomorrow and T3 has been talking football and technology with Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United and England defender.

While Neville will be using the new Sky Sports SkyPad (which we have an exclusive hands-on review of) in the studio to discuss the games – but we’ll also be seeing new tech making its way onto the pitch.

Premiership games will finally feature Hawkeye-developed goal-line technology to help referees make the call about whether the ball has crossed the line.

The system involves 14 cameras that send a signal within the space of a second to a referee’s watch and earpiece confirming the ball has crossed the line.

“The referee has 1,2,3 seconds, and you appreciate the difficulty they’re under, so anything that helps them make the right decision. They can’t be everywhere, they can’t see everything and they’re human beings, so I’m in favour of it,” said Neville, who also does in-game commentary for Sky Sports.

“You could argue about the negatives of it, but it’s enhancing the experience, [in] Rugby. It adds drama, theatre, entertainment into the game; it gives better understanding – the referee getting mic'd up.”

“All this has to come into football, it has to come into football, because its improving other sports remarkably,” he said.

The technology will cost £250,000 per ground, and is already fitted to Wembley stadium, where it was used for the community shield match between Manchester United and Wigan.

It will be known as GDS – or goal decision system – and will feature a reply played on a stadium’s big screen (if it has one) and on the TV at home in a similar manner to tennis.

While it is to be used in all Premier League games, UEFA have still held out on bringing it into the Champion’s League.

“UEFA will change,” says Gary Neville.

“It’s like anything, people don’t like change but things evolve. We didn’t have mobile phones 25 years ago and I suppose the first people said “I’m not having a mobile phone; I don’t want this intrusion into my life.” But how many people don’t have a mobile phone now?”

“The drama and the challenging of decision, that’s what people want. It’s part of sport. Twenty years ago we could pass back and the offside rule was ridiculous. Things will change.”

(Interview by Rhiain Morgan)

WATCH the full interview with Gary Neville in our video with the star pundit below.